Friday, 8 February 2008

Religion and Politics - it's a bad mix.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams put the cat amongst the pigeons yesterday, when he was interviewed on radio 4:

Dr Williams said the UK had to "face up to the fact" some citizens did not relate to the British legal system.
He said adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law could help social cohesion. For example, Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court.

Yes, Dr Williams - it will really to cause even more friction and division than already exists.
It leaves me speechless, that a man of such alleged intelligence can come out with such a crass comment.
He really hasn’t thought this through -
Ok, what if a muslim man wants more than one wife - and this is ok under sharia law...he lives next door to a non muslim, who after seeing his neighbour take more than one wife, decides to follow suit. The non muslim will get prosecuted for bigamy...but the muslim next door won’t! I personally think It would be fair for the non muslim to question if this was racist?

It’s not about ‘relating’ to the British legal system...lots of us could decide there are laws we don’t like, or agree with - but they are LAW nevertheless. For fairness, law must be abided by all, for the good of a whole society.

This is Britain, we are culturally diverse, and proud of it, but ultimately British law rules, anyone living here, or deciding to live here simply has to accept that - in the same way we must accept and respect living under sharia law if we choose to live in the Middle East.
Trevor Phillips of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said “[The] implication that British courts should treat people differently based on their faith is divisive and dangerous.”

Williams went on to say "nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that's sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states; the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women as well".
Oh, for goodness sake, do you seriously expect to be able to draw a line?

Thank goodness, just for once, the politicians showed some sense -
Conservative Baroness Warsi said the archbishop's comments were "unhelpful".
She told BBC News 24: "Dr Williams seems to be suggesting that there should be two systems of law, running alongside each other, almost parallel, and for people to be offered the choice of opting into one or the other. That is unacceptable."

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said he had "an enormous amount of respect" for Dr Williams, but could not agree with him on this issue.
He said: "Equality before the law is part of the glue that binds our society together. We cannot have a situation where there is one law for one person and different laws for another.
"There is a huge difference between respecting people's right to follow their own beliefs and allowing them to excuse themselves from the rule of law."

Gordon Brown's spokesman said the prime minister "believes that British laws should be based on British values".

AMEN to that.